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Emmons School History

Established in 1844 as a subscription school, the first Emmons School was located on what is now the southeast corner of Beach Grove Road and Route 59 (once known as Grass Lake Road). Myron Emmons (1805-1893) who had migrated to Antioch two years before from Caughdenoy, New York, settled on a farm of 440 acres. Myron donated a portion of his farm for the schoolhouse.

Myron resided on his farm until 1868 when he moved into the village of Antioch and went into partnership in a general store with his eldest son, Rockwell Dean. A letter written by Myron in 1878 tells of his trip to California in 1850 and his return with $500 in gold dust. Myron remained in the general store business until he retired in 1887.

The first Emmons School was made of lathe and plaster and the oak lumber donated by each family. It measured 16 x 24 feet and was heated by a box stove, which could accommodate logs three feet in length. The desks were boards on the side walls and one end wall of the room and the seats were planks with legs.

There was no school tax at the time so each family gave money according to the number of their children that were pupils.  The first teacher Mr. Miller, the second, Mr. White and others that followed boarded with the half dozen or so families in the district. The length of the teacher's stay with a family was determined by the number of children that family had enrolled in the school. The teachers were paid twelve dollars a month.

It was determined that the Emmons land was too low, so in 1870 land for a new site was purchased from John and Josephine Grimm for twenty dollars. The schoolhouse was moved to the new site directly across the road from where it had been originally built. The schoolhouse door faced west with several windows on the south wall. The Emmons land was returned to the Emmons family. 

Prior to the turn of the century Emmons was District 7 of the 11 school districts in the Antioch area. Each school had three directors that managed school business. By 1905, the schools in the county were reorganized and Emmons was given the district number 33. In the early 1900's enrollment varied from 20 to as many as 37 students. 

The building was remodeled in 1916 at a cost of $900, yet was not considered a standard  school. The heating and drinking water system were far below the necessary requirements . Since there was no well on the grounds during the 1920's, the teacher, Ida (Runyard) Kufalk, carried water  from her parents' farm across the road (northwest corner of Beach Grove and Route 59). The teacher was also responsible for starting the fire in the morning. Ida's student, Ardis (Toft) Pedersen remembers the odor of the chemical toilets in restrooms on the east end of the building.

Teachers in the 1920's needed to have one year of college to teach in a country school like Emmons, or two years to teach in a city school. Louise (Sheehan) McClure's salary was $125 a month. Two days a year the teacher was permitted to visit other school programs in the county. 

The community also used the Emmons schoolhouse. Church services, lyceums, political meetings, box socials, and square dancing all took place in the school or on the school grounds. 

During the summer of 1934, a new brick schoolhouse was built on the site. The superintendent at that time was W. C. Petty and the directors were E. P. Dressel, T. E. Hanson, and P. C. Toft. That brick structure had an oil furnace, boys and girls cloakrooms, indoor flush toilets, a library and a teacher's room. The basement of the build was used for indoor play. The former frame structure was sold and moved to the Nielsen Corner (northwest corner of Grass Lake Rd and  Route 59) and became part of their restaurant.

Emmons remained a one-teacher school into the 1950's. In the early 1950's there were only eight students in the school. There was a proposal to close the school and send the students to attend school in Antioch. Members of the community were so strongly opposed to the idea that the school remained open. In 1954, from the close of school in the spring until it reopened in the fall, the enrollment grew from twenty-four to forty-eight students. A second teacher was hired. Mrs. Helen Wolfinbarger, principal, taught the 5th - 8th grade students downstairs in the basement and the 1st - 4th grades were upstairs with Mrs. Cohnen as their teacher. By 1956, Emmons was over-crowded and the 7th and 8th grade students did  attend school in Antioch while the first addition was being built.

The new addition provided three classrooms and two restrooms on the main floor and a basement area that had a stage for student plays and graduation. Later in 1967 another addition was built with three more classrooms, office space and a gymnasium. Classrooms were also built on the basement level. By 1990 thirteen classrooms were in use in the school.

In 1970 the district had 1000 or more voters and could elect its first school board of seven members. The members of the first seven member board were Alan Thain, Ruth Duha, Richard Dubek, Harold Wilson, Dan Maras, Richard Ruck, and Delores Bowers.

When school opened for the 1994-1995 school year Emmons enrollment was 303 students. Ground was broken for a fourteen-room addition during the summer of 1994. The cost of the addition was 1.5 million. Teachers and students were able to move into the classrooms in that addition in May of 1995. The one room brick schoolhouse built in 1934 remains in use as the library. 

Antioch Township, the First Hundred Years, 1837 - 1937, Knirsch, R. Seltar. 1987.
The Emmons Family Genealogy From 1639 - 1905, Emmons, Edward Neville. 1905
History of the Town of Antioch. Emmons Students. 1918
Imperial Land Title, Inc. Libertyville, IL
Lake County Museum , Regional History Archives
Lakes Region Historical Society
William Thompson, former Regional Superintendent of Schools, Lake County
Memories of former staff and students of Emmons School.

Emmons Admin Staff

Dr. Eileen Conway - Superintendent

Dr. Eileen Conway has been the Superintendent/Principal at Emmons School District 33 since July 2012.  She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.  She completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at NIU in 1992 and Dr. Conway received her Doctoral Degree from National Louis University in 2010.

Dr. Conway was a classroom teacher for 17 years in both 4thand 5th grades.  Since 2002, she has served in the roles of Assistant Principal, Principal, Director, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. 

Outside of school, Dr. Conway is the proud mother of three, Katie (27), Kelly (23), and Patrick (18).  She has been married to her husband Pat for 29 years.  Dr. Conway lives in Libertyville.  She loves to read, play golf, and travel. 

Dr. Conway will be retiring in June 2019.

Mrs. Eileen Huston - Assistant Principal/Assessment Coordinator

I am Eileen Huston and I am thrilled to join the staff at Emmons School as the Assistant Principal and Assessment Coordinator.  I have been in education since 1988 and my role as a teacher, administrator, board member and most recently, an instructional coach, has allowed me to bring a wealth of experience to the district.  I have worked in both the elementary and middle school settings in a variety of capacities and as an instructor for a Master’s Cohort Program at St. Xavier University.  I received my Bachelor of Science in Education from Illinois State University, earned my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and completed the Leadership Program in School Administration from Lewis University.

My husband, John, and I are proud parents of two sons, Michael and Marc, both graduates of Emmons School and who are currently attending Illinois State University. Our family loves the Georgia Bulldogs, taking trips and spending time with family and friends. I am thrilled to bring my knowledge of teaching and learning to Emmons School.  I look forward to being a part of an exceptional school community that puts students first and continually strives for excellence!

Ms. Lisa Lawler - Director of Business Services

I started at  Emmons School District in June of 2009. I am responsible for the building, personnel, and financial aspects of the district. I previously held the same position at West Northfield School District for nine years and Lake Bluff School District for four years. I also worked in public accounting at a local firm for nine years. I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin and have lived in Racine for the past twenty five years. I graduated from UW Parkside and passed the CPA exam in 1989. I have one son, Gunnar, who is currently attending Marquette. I enjoy spending time with my family and dog Ace, skiing, mystery novels, and being a spectator at Marquette events.

Dr. Marguerite VanScoyoc - 

Coordinator of Special Services

I am Marguerite VanScoyoc and I am pleased to join the Emmons School staff as Special Services Coordinator. I have spent most of my career working in Lake Villa School District as both a teacher and an administrator in the areas of reading, special education, and curriculum and instruction. I have had experience in both elementary school and in middle school and have taught classes in the Masters Degree program in Teaching and Leadership for St Xavier University. I am a local resident of the Antioch area. I have earned my Doctorate in Education from Loyola University, my Certificate of Advanced Study in School Administration from Concordia University, my Masters Degree in Education and Reading from Carthage College and my Bachelors Degree in elementary education and special education from Carthage College. On a personal note, I enjoy reading, boating, gardening, and spending time with my husband and our two Cocker Spaniels Jack Black and Charlie Brown. I look forward to working with Emmons students, parents, and teachers. I am happy to join the Emmons staff!

Emmons School District